Seven ideas to make you smarter with money in 2020
Thursday 19 Dec 2019 Author: Laura Suter

The New Year is hurtling towards us and many people will start 2020 with goals for the year and changes they want to make, such as losing weight, getting fit or working less.

But it’s estimated that around 80% of people fail their resolutions and about a third of people will ditch them after the first month. So why not make some different resolutions this year that could make you richer.

1 Start a money club:

Start a club with your friends that focuses on any aspect of money, so a savings club, an investing club or a paying-down-debt club.

Firstly, it will start you talking about money with those closest to you. People are more likely to discuss their sex lives than their finances, so to break this taboo Brits needs to start talking about money.

But also much like diet clubs or antenatal groups, having the support of people who are in the same situation will help you to learn tips and tricks to achieve your goals – as well as hold you accountable.

2 Tackle a bill a month: Millions of people have lapsed from their initial offer rates onto the standard rate for all manner of bills, from electricity and gas to TV services and their gym.

Pick one bill each month and cut the cost. In the simplest way this can be calling your current provider and asking what their best rate is – this is low hassle and usually results in a saving.

If you invest a bit more time you can research other providers, check which is cheapest and switch to save more. Either way you’ll hopefully end the year richer.

3 Build an emergency fund: One in eight UK adults have no cash savings at all, and a further third have savings of between £1 and £1,999, according to the FCA Financial Lives survey.

This means that lots of people will struggle if they have an unexpected cost or run into financial problems.

It is easy to just say ‘save more’ but if you squirrel away a little bit of money each week or month it can add up – even if you start with a small amount.

You can also use rounding-up services offered by many banks, where they round up your purchases to the nearest pound and save the difference.

4 Commit to ‘no spend’ days: In the same way that the Government advocates drink-free days, and others have opted for meat-free Mondays, you should commit to at least one ‘no spend’ day a week – or more if you can manage it.

The idea is that by avoiding spending any money on one day it will make you more aware of the money you spend on other days – and will also highlight areas where you’re spending without thinking.

5 Stop ignoring your pension: Most employees will now have money coming out of their salary each month into their pension, thanks to auto-enrolment.

At the very least you should make sure you know who your pension provider is, how much you’re paying and what that money is invested in.

If you want to go one step further you could use online calculators to look at how much your pot could be worth by the time you retire – and so whether you’re putting enough in and if you should consider changing the investments.

6 Start saving for your children:

If you’re fortunate enough to have some spare cash each month that you can lock away, get around to opening that savings account for your child.

Putting away small amounts when they are little can really add up, and help to pay for costs such as university, buying a car or a house deposit in the future.

Putting away just £100 a year every year since a child was born can add up to £3,000 when they turn 18, assuming it’s invested and achieves 5% a year growth after fees. Putting away £50 a month would equal more than £18,000 by the time they turn 18.

7 Keep a money diary: Most people think they could save more or cut out some expenses, but don’t really know where to start.

Money diaries have exploded in popularity, with people publishing tell-all accounts of how they spend their cash on the internet.

You don’t have to open yourself up to this much public scrutiny, but keeping a diary of everything you spend for a week or a month can reveal some honest truths about whether you’re wasting cash.

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